The most common questions asked by schools and businesses are covered in this list of frequently asked questions about Business Class.

FAQs relating to schools

FAQs relating to business


FAQs relating to schools

What can Business Class do for us?

Business Partners can provide schools with support in a whole range of areas, such as:

  • working with school staff on skills development

  • problem solving in areas such as leadership, management and strategic planning

  • supporting the curriculum by offering vocational learning placements for pupils

  • supporting the development of skills in literacy and numeracy

  • helping you to navigate changes with your building structures or governance frameworks

The Business Class cluster - where 5-8 school-business partnerships in a locality commit to meet once a term - can also provide the opportunity for you to understand some of the challenges that your peers in other schools are facing and work together to overcome them

Can we maintain links and relationships we have already built up with local businesses?

Of course. We would encourage you to mention the support that they currently offer you when you complete your Needs Assessment process so we can ensure that your new business partner’s support complements the support you already enjoy. As an alternative, you may wish to consider introducing these contacts to the Business Class programme. Many Business Class partnerships are born of existing relationships.

How can we be sure of Business commitment to the programme?

As part of the needs assessment and action planning phase of Business Class, we encourage Businesses and schools to commit to a three year partnership and BITC will support this relationship throughout its duration. If for any reason a business partner or school cannot continue its involvement in Business Class BITC will endeavour to find a replacement.

Is Business Class run alongside local EBP or Local Delivery agencies?

Yes. The Business Class programme encourages partnership working and provides opportunities for everyone involved in a local area to share innovate and evaluate best practice. We always consult the Local Authority before initiating Business Class in any particular localities.

Can Business Class provide financial support?

The primary remit of Business Class partners is to provide schools with knowledge and skills support through some of the example activities mentioned above. However, as the partner relationship develops there may be the possibility for financial support, but this cannot be guaranteed and would be dependent on the individual decision of each separate partnership.

FAQs relating to businesses.

How is this different from other business education partnerships?

There are two unique features to Business Class:

The needs-assessment matrix – which we go through with the school to ensure that business support targeted to the areas of the school which most require it. The partners’ action plan also ensures that there is a clearly defined support structure in place and ensures termly objectives can be measured and monitored over a three year period.

The Cluster mechanism which enables 5-8 School/Businesses partnerships in a particular locality to be grouped together enabling them to meet on a termly  basis to share best practice and pool resources across partner schools. We then enable great ideas to be shared between clusters – both locally and nationally – enabling Business Class to raise the game in terms of quality and impact across the UK.

How do you determine where a cluster will be located, and which schools to work with?

We aim to ensure that at least 2/3 of our clusters are located in areas in the top 20% on the indices of multiple deprivation.  Having determined our priority areas, we prioritise the secondary schools facing the greatest challenges in terms of GCSE results but are very happy to work with higher performing schools as well. We do not currently include private schools in clusters.

Is Business Class only for secondary schools?

We aim to pilot primary engagement in one or two clusters but are focusing phase 1 of Business Class on secondary engagement.

How much does it cost to be involved, and how many partnerships are needed for a cluster?

The minimum price to run a cluster is £22,500p.a.

The minimum number of partnerships for a cluster to be viable is four, the maximum number is eight.  We will aim to have at least five businesses in a cluster at a cost of £4,500 p.a per partnership over a 3 year period.

If you are not a member of Business in the Community the cost will be £5,400. Please note that VAT is payable on all prices.

We are also looking for national partners who will enjoy particular profile and access as a result of their engagement. National partners will support the start up costs for a cluster in one or more key locations for them and also sit on the National Education Leadership Team. Please contact Katy.Neep@bitc.org.uk  if you would like more information.

What support will my business get from BITC if it engages in a cluster?

We will work with Local Authorities to source partner schools and meet them to introduce them to the model and work through the needs assessment process. We will work with you to determine which of the areas identified by the school you are equipped to support and develop an action plan at a matching meeting with you and the school. We will then launch the cluster, involving local partners, the local authority and all the business class members, and host termly cluster meetings to review progress across the different partnerships and opportunities for collaboration.

We will also support you on a 1-1 basis, helping you to develop programmes with your school partner and signposting you to online and other support where we don’t have the capacity to support you ourselves.

We will showcase excellent practice further afield, fuelling learning between clusters and also using lessons learnt locally to shape and inform national policy and good practice.

What are the cost/time implications for our organisation?

The amount of time Businesses are required to offer their partnership will vary depending on the needs of the school and how they plan to work together. As this is a ‘whole school’ relationship, however, you should anticipate intensive 1-1 engagement (eg via a Governing Body) as well as mass engagement.

Typically we would expect each partner to be present at all termly Cluster meetings (three per year) and look to support at least one intervention per term. We also find that the most successful partnerships are those where there is a dedicated team member driving the programme.

What kind of Benefits will the Business Class programme bring to our organisation?

As a business you can:

-help to create tomorrow’s competitive workforce by influencing the skills and knowledge of young people

-influence educational practice and outcomes and improve recruitment by establishing direct links from education into employment.

-enhance your reputation within the local community

-access creative development opportunities for your staff.

For Businesses engaged in more than one locality, the framework can enable more cohesion to schools-based activities and help inform the clusters across the country.

What sort of activities will I undertake as part of Business Class?

This will depend on the priorities identified by your partner school but will focus around 4 key areas:

Leadership and Governance

The Curriculum

Enterprise and Employability

Wider Issues

How long does it take to establish a partnership?

The length of time it takes to establish a partnership can vary, but we have found that typically it can take anywhere between 3-6 months before activity and delivery can commence.

What about EBPs and other delivery organisations who are active?

We will forge partnerships wherever possible with EBPs and other delivery agents who can add value to the programme.

We already have an established schools engagement programme. Can we still be involved, and can we work with other schools in the area?

Yes - in fact many businesses with longstanding programmes have chosen to join Business Class in the belief that it may help refresh existing partnerships, enable them to access new ones and also provide a platform to share good practice further afield. 

You are very welcome to work with other local schools outside of the cluster and we would encourage that you introduce them to the benefits of the Business Class approach where possible.